|Shedding the dreaded +/- 'Green Jacket' will help keep Anton Stralman (-17 in 09-10)|
around in Columbus beyond this season (photo by Dave Gainer/The Hockey Writers)
From Stralman's perspective, his agreeing to a one-year deal tells me that Anton (or his agent) still feels that the NHL is a potential goldmine for the young defenseman. They're going to take the good (but not great, despite being nearly triple last season's salary) money for one more year and test the market again. The question I need to look into is whether Stralman would be an Unrestricted Free Agent at the end of the season. From Stralman's perspective, a one-year contract makes sense if that's the case.
From Howson and the Blue Jackets' perspective, the deal didn't break the bank this year and has no impact beyond this season. That allows Howson the flexibility needed to work on new contracts for Jake Voracek and Steve Mason, both of whom have expiring contracts at the end of the season. Voracek will almost definitely be in for a healthy raise, and Mason has the potential for the same if he finds his rookie form. I know that Stralman, Voracek and Mason are not directly related from a financial point of view as they all play different positions, but everyone's contracts fit within the team salary budget.
Lastly, the one-year deal allows Stralman to prove that he's worth a longer-term commitment and, if he doesn't, it clears a roster spot for John Moore and team's the rising defensive prospects. Stralman's a placeholder until he demonstrates otherwise. Let's hope for the best and rest assured that Plans B, C and D are in place if things don't work out.
But let's leave things on a high note. Here's a video tribute to our right-handed shooting, puck-moving defenseman: